“Old dogs and new tricks”

Another summer, another washout. This being the Bank Holiday weekend it was always odds on that it was going to rain and it did. I feel sorry for any one that was holidaying in the UK this week. Autumn seems to have come early this year and the skies are depressingly bleak. I guess I should be grateful for the fact on the three occasions I have managed to get away this year the weather was good.

I am still off work and still suffering from abdominal pain. I have spent weeks trying to figure out exactly what it is that triggers the bloated feeling and the insufferable distension. So far I have cut out anything fatty from my diet and I have discovered that processed flour causes me problems. White bread, pasta, pizza, pastry and anything fried or roasted have also been cut from my diet as has all dairy products.

My weight is still dropping but the rate of loss has slowed down and I am now around 14.5 stone or 92 Kilos or 203 pounds for my American chums. I also have an appointment date with a consultant set for within a couple of weeks. Hopefully my symptoms, condition and cure will be laid out before me. I can but live in hope.

While I have been getting accustomed to a diet of fruit, steamed vegetables and poached fish I made an amazing discovery, Vesta meals are back! I actually bought a couple and have rediscovered a part of my youth. These tasty boil in the bag items were once considered the height of sophistication and were my first introduction to foreign food. Delights such as Chow Mein, Curry and Paella were first experienced from those little boxes. Accompanied by a cold bottle of Blue Nun for refreshment an empty bottle of Mateus Rose covered in wax with a candle stuffed into the neck for atmosphere I considered myself to be very cosmopolitan indeed. How times change.

All this reminiscing reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend around 20 years ago. It went something along the lines of, “suppose this is as good as it ever gets and one day we will forget the shit we are in now and look back and say they were the good old days”. I do not remember who said it him or me but recent events caused me to think that perhaps this is as happy as I am ever going to be. We can’t all get what we want or go where we want to go or see and experience the things we want. To compensate I used to buy stuff I didn’t actually need as a reward for doing jobs I did not like and for not being able to do the things I wanted to do. It was nice to see something tangible for my efforts. In retrospect it was comfort shopping. I am now trying to de-clutter my life and stuff is appearing faster than I can get rid of it.

It is a sobering thought that circumstances beyond my control are stopping me from doing many of things I want to be able to do while I still can. On the subject of travel or moving I have to consider the possibility that it may never happen. If it isn’t money or time or regulations there always seems to be something stopping me from fully opening the door to maybe perceived happiness elsewhere. On top of this is a human condition. Every action affects someone somewhere. My friends have said they will miss me and some have actually told me they do not want me to go. It is an exaggeration of course but I often feel as though I am living my life for someone else.

If I could learn to appreciate what I already have and to be happy with my circumstances then life would be better not just for me but I suspect a few other people as well. Sadly what springs to mind is the saying “Old dogs and new tricks”.


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